TABOR CITY – East Bladen senior standout Zach Meares has been named the Three Rivers Conference Baseball Player of the Year.
Meares finished the season with a 7-0 pitching record and allowed only 1 earned run in 44 innings pitched (0.16 earned run average) while striking out 79 batters.
At the plate Meares batted .382 with team-highs in hits (21) and runs batted in (15). He scored 16 runs and slugged 3 doubles, 2 triples and a home run. The pitcher/shortstop batted 3-for-4 with 4 runs batted in in a 14-4 win over West Bladen, walloped a home run and a triple in a 12-3 victory at South Columbus and was 3-for-5 with a double and 3 RBIs in a 13-3 playoff win over North Pitt.
But it was on the mound where Meares dominated the opposition, beginning with 6 innings of no-hit relief that included 11 strikeouts as the Eagles rallied from a 4-0 deficit to win their season-opener 5-4 over Whiteville.
When the Eagles traveled to Whiteville for their conference opener, Meares flirted with a perfect game into the 6th inning before settling for a 1-hit shutout that included 14 strikeouts in a 5-0 win.
Meares fired a no-hitter and struck out 13 in a 5-inning 14-0 victory over West Columbus. In the game that clinched a share of the TRC title for the Eagles, the hard-throwing righthander struck out 11 and pitched a 3-hitter in a 3-1 victory at East Columbus – the run was unearned.
In the playoffs Meares earned the victory in a 6-1 victory over Croatan then closed out his pitching season by firing a 2-hitter and striking out 9 in a 5-0 win at North Lenoir that earned the Eagles a berth in the Eastern Finals. Meares was unable to pitch against Randleman due to pitch-count limitations.
East Bladen’s Lefredrick Wooten, Brady Hollingsworth and Jacob Priest along with West Bladen’s Devon Strange received All-Three Rivers Conference honors. More details about their seasons upcoming.